Haiti is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, but word is starting to get out on this island that has a uniquely French flavored creole culture. New hotels and investments are coming into Haiti as the island slowly recovers from a series of natural and economic disasters. Our Haiti Travel Guide with share the vibrant culture and nightlife, magnificent architectural attractions, and stunning natural beauty that Haiti has to offer. Haiti has two magnificent architectural attractions, Sans-Souci Palace, known as the Caribbean Versailles, and Citadelle la Ferriere, the largest fortress in the Caribbean. Both are near Cap-Haïtien, Haiti’s second-largest city. Port-au-Prince’s chaotic Iron Market is packed with stalls selling everything from fruit to religious totems. Haiti’s top natural attractions include Étang Saumâtre, a large saltwater lake with flamingos and crocodiles, and the Bassins Bleu, three deep blue pools linked by spectacular waterfalls.
Tranquil beaches, tumbling waterfalls and pine-tree-capped mountains dot the varied and striking landscape, easily rivaling the natural beauty found anywhere else in the Caribbean. The world’s only successful slave rebellion happened here, and the music, art and culture that came with it make Haiti entirely unique. As those who come to assist Haiti often learn, an encounter with the soul of this fascinating, beautiful country often benefits a traveler just as much. Our Haiti Travel Guide will provide you with everything you need to plan and book your beach vacation to Haiti. For more information the beautiful beaches of Haiti, visit our Greater Antilles Travel page. Haiti is part of the islands that make up the Greater Antilles.
Haiti Weather – When to Visit
November to March has the hottest, driest days in most of the country (with the exception of some rain in the north). These months are ideal for travel due to attractions such as the countrywide Fet Gédé Vodou festival (November), and Carnival in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel (February). April to June there is quite a bit of rain in south Haiti, as well as in Port-au-Prince. Hurricane season lasts from August to October, and many days are humid with considerable rainfall. Still, travel is perfectly feasible if there are no big storms. The best time to visit Haiti is between June and August.
Haitians call the Citadelle the eighth wonder of the world and, having slogged to the 900m summit of Pic Laferrière (or ridden horseback for US$15), you’ll likely agree. This battleship-like fortress gives commanding views in every direction. Completed in 1820, it employed 20,000 people and held supplies to sustain the royal family and a garrison of 5000 troops for a year. With 4 m-thick walls up to 40 m high, the fortress was impenetrable, although its cannons were never fired in combat.
Bassin Bleu Waterfall
This natural site is composed of three basins with a turquoise blue water. There are huge waterfalls pouring into these basins and linking them at the same time. First, there is Bassin Yes is15 feet deep. The second is Bassin Palmiste and is 57 feet deep. The third, Bassin Clair has a depth of 75 feet . Bassin Clair is the most popular of the three, with a waterfall 10 meters high falling in it. Read more about the Bassin Bleu Waterfall
Off Road Haiti
This tiny island offers fine white sand, a lush core of trees, and cool turquoise water where snorkelers encounter sunken, centuries-old cannons and anchors. Christopher Colombus is said to have stopped by, and indigenous artifacts have also been unearthed here. Boat taxi captains in Labadee charge around $40 for a round-trip excursion and $15 for cooking up a lunch of lobster, fish, octopus or enormous crabs purchased from local fishermen.
Built as a rival to Versailles in France, Henri Christophe’s palace of Sans Souci has lain abandoned since it was ruined in the 1842 earthquake. The years of neglect have left an elegantly crumbling edifice, slightly alien against its tropical backdrop. Finished in 1813, Sans Souci was more than just a palace, designed to be the administrative capital of Christophe’s kingdom, housing a hospital, a school and a printing press, as well as an army barracks.
Promenade du Bord de Mer
Installed by ex-President Michel Martelly, this new, kilometer-long boardwalk along Jacmel’s waterfront has become popular with locals as a spot to socialize and relax. It’s magical to go for a stroll over the boardwalks elaborate mosaic tile designs, checking out local jewelry and paintings, trying street food or interacting with passers-by. Time your visit to coincide with illuminated street lights.
Things to Do in Haiti
Blue Waterfalls (Bassin Bleu) adventures from Jacmel, Haiti
Nature lovers: experience the thrill of swimming around the Blue Waterfalls (Bassin Bleu) of Jacmel. Jump and slide down natural water slides etched out of limestone, and marvel at five of the seven waterfalls nestled in the hills of this southern Haiti treasure. The 6-hour excursion includes round-trip hotel transport by air-conditioned minivan. Read more about Blue Waterfalls (Bassin Bleu) Adventures
Explore Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, on a 6-hour private sightseeing tour. Discover how Haiti has rebuilt after the devastating 2010 earthquake as you visit landmarks such as the ruins of the National Palace and Cathedral, the National Museum to learn about the history of the country, the Papillon Market, and much more. Then enjoy 360-degree views of the city and the Caribbean Sea from the Observatory. Read more about PAP Tour
Cote des Arcadins Sunset Cruise
Sail down the Cote des Arcadins during this 2-hour sunset cruise in Haiti. Board a 26-foot (8-meter) Parker sailboat and set off into the deep blue waters. Onboard, enjoy local rum punch, domestic beer and soft drinks (2 drinks per person). Dance to island tunes as you watch the setting sun turn the sky pink, orange and red. Take in the coast’s barrier reefs and cliffs, keeping an eye out for dolphins and other marine life. Read more about Cote des Arcadins Sunset Cruise
Amiga Island Tour From Cap Haitien
Let us take you to the most beautiful Super-Star of off-shore islands in HAITI . Picture yourself under the Sun, in the Sand, Booze in hands, Haitian “Bwa Fouye”and Bikinis! You will certainly spread the word to the world after such an unforgettable experience. Read more about Amiga Island Tour From Cap Haitien
Citadelle Laferriere Sightseeing Tour from Cap-Haitien
On this small-group tour, your guide offers facts and anecdotes often missed by solo visitors about the rich history and legacy of Palace San Souci and Citadelle Laferrière, the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere built to protect freed slaves after the Haitian Revolution of 1804. A horseback ride up to the Citadelle and lunch with live entertainment makes this tour a popular choice for visitors. Read more about Citadelle Laferriere Sightseeing Tour from Cap-Haitien
Best Haiti Restaurants
Le Daily Gourmet Cafe
On weekdays, this place is packed with UN and US Embassy staffers seeking healthy, fresh foods that Haiti too often lacks. Lunch is served buffet-style, with theme cuisines such as Arabic or Asian-fusion, and main courses, vegetarian options and incredible salads with homemade dressings. Hibiscus juice is always on offer, and the cafe is adorned with refurbished pallets and other reclaimed objects. Telephone: 509 48 68 9890
Attached to the boutique hotel La Lorraine, this classy but chilled-out restaurant, event space and art gallery is the kind of place where you could eat for a week. And drink. And do trivia. And see some art. And eat more. The menu offers traditional Dominican dishes such as kibbehand acra, along with healthy, international salads and beef carpaccio. Telephone: 509 22 33 3636 Web: Café 36.
Recently opened by Jean Pierre who rarely ceases to delight, this is his best offering yet. The stylish brasserie boasts an extensive wine list along with cheese plates, homemade pastas and a tender beef filet drizzled with a decadent sauce of your choosing. Art and books abound, and jazz seems to emanate from the very walls. Telephone: 509 48 24 1329 Web: L’Estaminet.
ne of the busiest restaurants in Cap-Haïtien, and it’s not hard to see why. There are tables facing the seafront where you can enjoy a drink, otherwise step inside to eat under bamboo thatch and load up on generous plates of Creole food or pizza. The atmosphere is lively, and at weekends there are often bands ($4 admission applies). Telephone: 509 31 88 6881 Web: Lakay.
‘Caribbean fusion’ aren’t words you expect to see written in a Haitian restaurant review, but Papaye carries off the idea with considerable aplomb, taking Creole dishes and jamming them up against Asian, European and other culinary influences. Somehow it works, producing one of Haiti’s classiest restaurants. Telephone: 509 46 56 2482 Web: Papaye.
Best Haiti Nightlife
Asú Rooftop Lounge
The place to see and be seen, Karibe Hôtel’s rooftop lounge is unquestionably Pétionville’s most fabulous venue to throw back a few cocktails – especially on Fridays. A fire pit, an elevated pool with colored lights, and crystal chandeliers all feed into the atmosphere of excess, and a permanently installed DJ booth starts pumping house music at around 10pm. Telephone: 509 28 19 2222 Web: Asu Rooftop Lounge.
Yes, you can get decent Mexican food here, and whole chickens, and Prestige, of course. But the main reason to come is that after dinner, this relatively unremarkable outdoor taco joint occasionally hosts wild parties and raves, with Haiti’s most talented DJs spinning. You might even need a password to get in. Telephone: 509 48 90 8226 Web: Tito’s Tacos.
This new, waterfront bar and restaurant is pirate-themed, with a spectacular view of Cap-Haïtien’s bay. It’s an ideal spot for a Haitian spaghetti breakfast or a burger, but even better for the late-night parties fueled by compas music and the potent Buccaneer punch. Telephone: 509 33 54 6344 Web: Boukanye.
Constructed of brick and stone, this low-lit drinking establishment offers the best rum sours around, along with regular salsa-dancing performances. Telephone: 509 34 86 9218 Web: La Taverne.
Best Haiti Hotel Deals
NH Haiti El Rancho
The NH Haiti El Rancho hotel is an upscale building in the heart of Petion-Ville, 7 kilometers from central Port-au-Prince. This is the real heart of Haiti’s capital, where most of the hotels, embassies and restaurants are located. The hotel has 72 rooms, which are furnished in a modern style. Our rooms have tiled floors, crisp, white linens and plenty of stylish, contemporary details. Features like free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and satellite TV come as standard. Superior and Premium rooms are available for guests, as are Suites. The hotel has an outdoor pool, next to which is a large terrace dotted with palm trees. We also have a restaurant serving Haitian and international cuisine. You can also keep busy at our gym or casino.
Residences Etang du Jong
Along with a bar/lounge, this smoke-free apartment building has a rooftop terrace and laundry facilities. Free WiFi in public areas and free self parking are also provided. Other amenities include a garden and a front-desk safe.
Best Western Premier Petion-Ville
BW Premier is in the heart of Petion-Ville and features modern décor, an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi in all areas. This hotel features an on-site whiskey bar. Featuring air conditioning, each luxurious room and suite at this property comes equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a desk. They also have a refrigerator, telephone and safety-deposit box. There is a Mediterranean restaurant within a quarter mile of BW Premier Petion-Ville, and guests can find a pizza place only 500 feet away. The hotel also features a spa, meeting facilities, fitness center, dry cleaning services and an airport shuttle.
Kaliko Beach Club – All Inclusive
Featuring free WiFi, an outdoor pool and a children’s playground, Kaliko Beach Club All Inclusive Resort offers accommodation in Carries. The hotel has a terrace and a private beach area, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site. Every room comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom fitted with a shower. The All inclusive offers 3 meals, snacks and unlimited drinks.
Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa
Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa is a beachfront resort located in Montrouis and offers an outdoor swimming pool and an on-site restaurant. Free WiFi access is available only in the lobby. At Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa you will find meeting facilities, a shared lounge and a tour desk. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including table tennis and canoeing. All inclusive program offers Buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner, A la carte dinners and snacks, unlimited national alcoholic beverages, daily activities program, non-motorized water sports, tennis courts with lessons and nightly entertainment.